One of the most picturesque festivals in Bangkok is the evening of Loy Krathong, when people gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped rafts (krathongs), decorated with candles, incense and flowers onto the water. Some believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges you have been holding onto, and including a fingernail or a lock of hair is seen as a way of letting go of the dark side of yourself, to start anew free of negative feelings. If your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means a year of good luck.
Every year, Loy Krathong falls on the night of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November), at the end of the rainy season when the full-moon lights up the sky. The sight of thousands of Krathongs, their flickering candles sending a thousand pinpoints of light far into the horizon is a truly magical site, and there are plenty of places in Bangkok where you can get involved with the festivities.
It was the evening of our first day in Bangkok, Thailand and our dear friend Adrian Mathews, his lovely new wife June, and their beautiful, precocious, four-year-old daughter Pang, took us to witness Loy Krathong festivities in the fashionable Asiatique. Asiatique is a large open-air mall in Bangkok sitting on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It recently opened a new attraction the “Asiatique Sky Tree”, the tallest Ferris wheel in Bangkok at 60 metres (200 ft).
Traffic in Bangkok is horrendous and the traffic congestion here is amongst the worst in the world. We drove for close to two hours to travel the few miles to the event. Parking a distance away we walked through common city streets taking in the sights, sounds, and colors of Bangkok!
In my ongoing quest to eat my way across Asia, I was really excited to see all the different types of street food on display!
Everywhere along the walk towards the waterfront there were floats for sale!
These adorable little performers stopped their show to watch the show.
Traditional costumes were on display.
We dined in a nice little Italian restaurant. During dinner we heard a series of what sounded like explosions. Our hearts skipped a beat and then we realized that the explosions were in fact fireworks!
After dinner and fireworks it was time to tackle the Asiatique Sky Wheel!
The next day the Mathews family took us out to do a little sight seeing. While driving a Buddhist temple caught our eye and we decided to stop. The temple, Wat Hua Lamphong is a Royal Buddhist temple, third class, in the Bang Rak District of Bangkok, Thailand. One of the meanings of the name Bang Rak is “Village of Love” and is a popular site for people to get married, especially on Valentines day. Wat Hua Lamphong is known as the “Coffin Temple” because money donated there goes to buy coffins for the indigent; which is a much different act of love! That it is a “third class” temple means that it is a working temple used in everyday life. Wat Hua Lamphong is a busy temple. The temple was extensively remodeled in honor of His Majesty the King’s 50th jubilee. The royal seal of the Kanchanapisek Year, featuring two elephants flanking a tiered umbrella of presence, is used throughout the temple decorations.
Afterwards, Adrian and June decided to treat us to dinner and the best view in town. The best view is from the rotating observation deck on the 84th floor of the BaiyokeTower II. It is the tallest building in the city, and comprises the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest hotel in Southeast Asia and the seventh-tallest all-hotel structure in the world.
While walking through city streets to get to the hotel we came across this sign. A perfect reminder that our little sister Alisa, our angel girl, is always with us!
View from the 84th floor observation deck.
Flaming yellow cloud in the distance.
We took in the view at dusk and then went downstairs to the 83rd floor for an amazing buffet.
Upstairs, after dinner, we were treated to the same spectacular views but with the city illuminated with lights.
One highlight of our time in Bangkok was the opportunity to meet up with Laurie’s cousin Shon and his three-year-old son Hitch. We met at the Paragon mall and caught up over burgers. It was such a special time and we hope to see them again before we head back home.
Our Thailand adventure continues in Chiang Mai!!!